Statement by the Executive Director at the launching ceremony of the project ‘enhancing women’s SME development in the State of Palestine’
Speech by Ms. Arancha González, Executive Director, International Trade Centre
Delivered on 16 February 2014 at the launching ceremony of the project ‘Enhancing women’s SME development in the State of Palestine’
Mr. Rami Hamdallah, Prime Minister of Palestine
Mr. Jawad Naji, Minister of National Economy,
Ms. Helen Clark, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure for me to be with you today to launch a project to help foster women entrepreneurship in the State of Palestine.
A project which is the result of the cooperation between the International Trade Centre and UNDP, two agencies of the United Nations strongly committed to the advancement of women, working with the Palestinian Women Business Forum (WBF).
And we do this at the beginning of 2014, declared by the United Nations as a “Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People”.
The ITC is a long standing friend of the State of Palestine. We have worked with the Palestine Trade Centre (PalTrade) to help boost Palestinian trade and we will soon launch an export development strategy.
Today we build on this partnership to promote trade by Palestinian women-owned small and medium enterprises. Together we will be working to address the numerous constraints facing them so that they can be more competitive, grow their business and create jobs. We need to improve production capacities, to improve the business environment, to facilitate their access to trade and help connect them to regional and global markets.
Economic empowerment of women is not just right, it is also smart. In developing countries women owned companies represent close to 40% of all SMEs and we also know that women reinvest up to 90% of their earnings in the family. To empower women economically means working for development and for poverty reduction.
To support women’s economic empowerment the ITC is in the process of rolling out a comprehensive gender mainstreaming policy which will see the systematic integration of gender in all of the organization's objectives. This will complement the existing "Women and Trade Programme", which addresses the factors that inhibit women from achieving export success as entrepreneurs.
One of our flagship events is the Global Platform for Action on Sourcing from Women Vendors. This event gathers women businesses along with companies, governments and institutions to better connect women business owners to regional and global value chains. To date, over 650 policy-makers, international organizations, buyers, trade support institutions, women business associations and women business enterprises from 48 countries, including 39 Least Developed countries, have participated in Global Platform activities. Palestinian women businesses have participated in the past and I would like to invite them to the next one we are organizing in Rwanda in September.
Let me before closing thank the donors who make this 'Women and Trade' project possible - the UKAid through the Department for International Development (DFID), Norway, and Sweden.
This project has the potential to impact far beyond the confines of what we will sign today. It is a signal that Palestinian women owned enterprises are ‘open for business’. It is a sign that there is an economic dimension to cooperation with Palestine which can be deepened. ITC is here as a partner and I, personally, am committed to a positive outcome and am excited by the opportunities which this collaboration will offer.
Thank you and “Shokran Jaziilan lakom Jamiian”